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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Hebrews 10:4

For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Atonement;   Bull;   Law;   Offerings;   Types;   The Topic Concordance - Desire;   Jesus Christ;   Law;   Pleasure;   Reconciliation;   Sacrifice;   Sanctification;   Sin;   Will of God;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Blood;   Conscience;   Pardon;   Sacrifices;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Law;   Testament;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Lamb;   Law;   Leviticus;   Priest;   Propitiation;   Sacrifice;   Type, typology;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Law;   Life;   Sheol;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Atonement;   Covenant;   Peace;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Goat;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Christianity;   Hebrews, the Epistle to the;   Lord's Supper;   Sacrifice;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Cattle;   Expiation, Propitiation;   Forgiveness;   Hebrews;   Reconcilation;   Scapegoat;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Atonement;   Goat;   Hebrews, Epistle to;   Law;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Blood;   Blood ;   Day of Atonement ;   Goat ;   Gospel;   Hebrews Epistle to the;   Old Testament;   Sacrifice;   Sacrifice (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Atonement, Day of;   Sacrifice;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Christ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Law;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Mediator;   Sacrifice;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Law of Moses, the;   Kingdom or Church of Christ, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Accommodation;   Goat;   Hebrews, Epistle to the;   Lord's Supper (Eucharist);  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for October 18;   Every Day Light - Devotion for November 26;  
Unselected Authors

Adam Clarke Commentary

Verse Hebrews 10:4. For it is not possible — Common sense must have taught them that shedding the blood of bulls and goats could never satisfy Divine justice, nor take away guilt from the conscience; and God intended that they should understand the matter so: and this the following quotation from the Psalmist sufficiently proves.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/hebrews-10.html. 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary


Sacrifice under the new covenant (9:23-10:18)

Levitical sacrifices were part of a material order and brought symbolic cleansing. Christ’s death is concerned with the spiritual order and brings actual cleansing (23). The Levitical high priest entered the symbolic presence of God with the blood of a sacrificial animal, a ceremony that had to be repeated yearly. Christ entered God’s real presence on account of his own blood, and he did so only once. His death is sufficient to remove completely the sins of the whole world, past, present and future (24-26).
People die once and face judgment. Christ died once and gained eternal salvation for those who trust in him. By his death believers are forgiven; their sins are taken away. They will enjoy the fulness of their salvation when Christ reappears, coming out of the heavenly tabernacle to be with them for ever (27-28).
The repeated offering of the Levitical sacrifices showed that they were unable to bring complete cleansing. They indicated that there must have been something better yet to come (10:1-4). God’s plan was not that animal sacrifices be offered for ever, but that they prepare the way for Jesus Christ. As the man who came from God, Jesus spent his life doing God’s will, even though it led him to offer that life in sacrifice. His death puts an end to all the old sacrifices, for it cleanses people from sin once and for all (5-10).
Israelite priests stood offering sacrifices day after day. Their work was never finished, because animal sacrifices could not remove sin. The great high priest offered one sacrifice (himself), took away sin for ever, then sat down in God’s presence. His work of salvation is complete, and is available for those who want it. But there remains his work of judgment on those who refuse it (11-14). Under the new covenant a complete and permanent spiritual work is done in the lives of God’s people. There is no need for further sacrificial offerings. God’s work through Christ removes all sin and gives believers new life in the Spirit (15-18).

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:4". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/hebrews-10.html. 2005.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins - The reference here is to the sacrifices which were made on the great day of the atonement, for on that day the blood of bulls and of goats alone was offered; see the notes on Hebrews 9:7. Paul here means to say, doubtless, that it was not possible that the blood of these animals should make a complete expiation so as to purify the conscience, and so as to save the sinner from deserved wrath. According to the divine arrangement, expiation was made by those sacrifices for offences of various kinds against the ritual law of Moses, and pardon for such offences was thus obtained. But the meaning here is, that there was no efficacy in the blood of a mere animal to wash away a “moral” offence. It could not repair the Law; it could not do anything to maintain the justice of God; it had no efficacy to make the heart pure. The mere shedding of the blood of an animal never could make the soul pure. This the apostle states as a truth which must be admitted at once as indisputable, and yet it is probable that many of the Jews had imbibed the opinion that there was such efficacy in blood shed according to the divine direction, as to remove all stains of guilt from the soul; see the notes, Hebrews 9:9-10.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/hebrews-10.html. 1870.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

4. For it is not possible, etc. He confirms the former sentiment with the same reason which he had adduced before, that the blood of beasts could not cleanse souls from sin. The Jews, indeed, had in this a symbol and a pledge of the real cleansing; but it was with reference to another, even as the blood of the calf represented the blood of Christ. But the Apostle is speaking here of the efficacy of the blood of beasts in itself. He therefore justly takes away from it the power of cleansing. There is also to be understood a contrast which is not expressed, as though he had said, “It is no wonder that the ancient sacrifices were insufficient, so that they were to be offered continually, for they had nothing in them but the blood of beasts, which could not reach the conscience; but far otherwise is the power of Christ’s blood: It is not then right to measure the offering which he has made by the former sacrifices.”

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:4". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/hebrews-10.html. 1840-57.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Chapter 10

For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very substance of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect ( Hebrews 10:1 ).

Now notice the law was only a shadow of the good things to come. The value of the studying of Leviticus and the studying of the law, to the Christian, is that it foreshadows the work of Jesus Christ, the offering of Jesus Christ, and the high priestly nature of Jesus Christ. The shadow, it's not the substance. Paul tells us this in Colossians, chapter 2, where Christ through His death blotted out the handwriting and the ordinances that were against us, nailing them to His cross and triumphing over them in it. Therefore, don't let any man judge you in respect of meat, or drink, or new moons, or holy days or Sabbath days, for these were all a shadow of things to come, but the substance is Christ.

So Christ standing here in this point in history. His shadow was cast over the past history. The shadow of Christ is there in the law and in the sacrifices. You can see that they foreshadow Him, but they were only the shadow. Jesus is the substance that casts the shadow. And so there is a real substance in Jesus. These things were only foreshadowing His coming. Once He came they were no longer necessary, no longer necessary to have the shadows, for we now have the substance in Jesus.

For if they could have been perfect sacrifices that had put away the sins then would they not have ceased to be offered? ( Hebrews 10:2 ).

In other words, they would have done it once in Moses' day and that would have been it. They wouldn't have to offer animals every day. They wouldn't have to offer animals once a year in the Holy of Holies. It would have been sufficient had they been able to perfect man.

"Then would they not have ceased to be offered?"

Because the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins ( Hebrews 10:2 ).

Now this was under the old covenant, and had it been effective, once being cleansed, they should have no more conscience of sins. Showing that it did not bring that to them under the old covenant, however, the glorious thing is that in this new covenant through Jesus Christ, once being purged, we really should not have any more consciousness of sins. There is this purging. It's complete, the cleansing in the blood of Jesus Christ is complete, and the blood of Jesus Christ God's Son cleanses. In the Greek, it is present perfect tense. It is continually cleansing us from all sins. What a glorious thing, that continual cleansing by Jesus Christ.

But in those sacrifices there was a reminder again made for sins every year ( Hebrews 10:3 ).

Every year when the priest would go in, you'd be reminded again of your guilt and of your sin.

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins ( Hebrews 10:4 ).

It is impossible that they could actually take away your sins. They made what they called the kophar for sins. In the Hebrew, kophar, which is translated atonement. It is probably a bad translation. It should be translated covered. It made a covering for their sins, but it did not put their sins away. It only covered their sins.

Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me ( Hebrews 10:5 ):

Now this is a quotation from Psalm 46 . However, the latter part of the quotation, "a body thou hast prepared me," is not as your King James reads, but this was translated from the Septuagint version.

The Septuagint version of the scriptures was a Hebrew to Greek translation of the Old Testament that was made by seventy scholars two hundred years before the birth of Christ. After the Babylonian captivity, the Hebrew language was almost dead. It was only known by the biblical scholars. They were the only ones that used the Hebrew language. The Jews, themselves, usually spoke the Koine or they spoke Greek, but Hebrew was only for biblical scholars. They felt that the people should have the Bible in a language they could understand, and so they translated the Old Testament scriptures into Greek. It is called the Septuagint. So whenever you read of the Septuagint version, that is what it is, a translation by seventy scholars of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek two hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ.

This quotation, as do others in the New Testament, come from the Septuagint version, and interestingly enough, "Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not," or you don't care for, "but you have prepared a body for me."

That is, Jesus, when He came into the world, God prepared a body for Him. In order that in this body, He might become the perfect, complete sacrifice for man.

In burnt offerings [the Lord said in Psalms] and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God ( Hebrews 10:6-7 ).

So, this is declared of Jesus Christ. He declared, "I have come. In the volume of the book it is written of Me." The Old Testament is all about Jesus Christ. He is all the way through, interwoven in all of the types, in all of the shadows, in all of the books. It is one continuous story in the preparing of the hearts of man for the coming of the Messiah. The prophecies, the hopes, all prefigured there in the Old Testament.

He speaks here of the burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin. There were five offerings that were made in the Old Testament. They were necessary to bring man into fellowship with God. It is the purpose of God that man should fellowship with Him. God's purpose is that man should know Him, that he should fellowship with Him and that he might cooperate with God in the accomplishing of God's purposes here on the earth.

Now sin creates a breach between man and God. Sin separates man from God. Sinful man cannot be one with a holy God.

Paul, writing to the Corinthians, who lived in that city that was so debauched, that the word Corinthian became a synonym for a totally debauched person. Every night a thousand priestesses would come into the city of Corinth from the Acropolis above Corinth, the temple there of Aphrodite. These priestesses in the temple of Aphrodite were prostitutes. And a thousand of them, a thousand streetwalkers in the city every night. And so Paul warned the Corinthian believers concerning having a relations with a harlot. He said, "Don't you realize that if you have relationships with a harlot you become one with her? And if you are one with Christ then you are making Christ a partaker and bringing Him as one with a harlot." He said, "You can't do that. What fellowship hath light with darkness? Christ with Belial and all." He is warning against these things. You are to be one with God and if you then go out and sin you are making God a partner in your sin. That can't be. Sinful man cannot have fellowship with a holy God. So before fellowship can be experienced, sin has to be put away.

In the first covenant there were two of the offerings that dealt with sin. The first was the sin offering, which is sins general. The second was the trespass offering where I had deliberately trespassed against the law of God. That took a different type of a sacrifice. But they had to be taken care of before I could have fellowship with God. But once I had made the sin and trespass offerings, then I could bring the burnt offerings.

You notice the burnt offering here, and then the sin offerings. The burnt offerings were offerings of consecration where I would consecrate my life to God. This was the burnt offering, and it was symbolic of just consecrating my life to God. Then there was the meal offering, which was the consecration of my service to God as I brought the grain that I had cultivated and grown. And they baked it into bread and offered it unto God.

Finally, I could offer the peace offering, which was communion. I could now be made one with God. My sins have been put away. My trespasses have been put away. I've consecrated my life and my service to God, and now I come into oneness with God and I offer the peace offering. And I sit down and eat with God the peace offering. I give Him His portion to eat, the best part of it, being a gracious host, and I then partake of the rest and we eat together. And as we are both nourished by the same lamb, then I become a part of God and God becomes a part of me, and I have this fellowship.

So God was tired. He would not accept anymore of these sacrifices.

Offering and burnt offerings and the offering for sin thou wouldst not, neither did you have pleasure therein; those things that were offered by the law. Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he might establish the second ( Hebrews 10:8-9 ).

The first covenant that God established with man is over. You cannot come to God by the first covenant.

There are always those who want to come to God on their terms. Hey, you're not calling the shots! You're in no position to call the shots. "God, I'll do this for You if You'll do this, this and this." You're trying to bargain with God or come to God on your terms, and it can't be done. The only way you can come to God is as a guilty sinner and cast yourself upon His mercy and grace and just ask for mercy and grace. You've got to come on His terms, and His terms are that you come through Jesus Christ.

The Old Covenant is disannulled; it's passed away. It is no longer effective. In establishing of the new covenant, He has put away the first. So, taketh away the first that He might establish the second

By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all ( Hebrews 10:10 ).

So, we have been sanctified through the body of Jesus Christ. I am made righteous through Jesus Christ. I am accepted in Jesus Christ. All that I have in my relationship with God today must and does come through Jesus Christ. He is my peace. He is my righteousness. He is my sin offering. He is my sin offerer. He is everything. He is my mediator. Jesus is everything to me. Without Him I have nothing. I have no access to God. I am alienated from God. I am hopelessly and helplessly lost apart from Jesus Christ.

Every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins ( Hebrews 10:11 ):

So they're busy. They are kept busy all day long offering one sin offering after another; one meal offering after another as the various people came in. But it is . . . he's pointing out these offerings cannot take away sins.

But this man [Jesus Christ], after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God ( Hebrews 10:12 );

It's complete. He doesn't have to do it every day. He doesn't have to be crucified over and over. The death of Christ is sufficient once and for all.

From henceforth [or from now on] just waiting until his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified ( Hebrews 10:13-14 ).

Isn't that glorious? By His one offering we have been perfected forever. Thank God!

Whereof the Holy Ghost also is witness to us: for after he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their hearts, and their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more ( Hebrews 10:15-17 ).

David cried out, "Oh how happy is the man whose transgressions are forgiven. Oh how happy is the man whose sins are covered. Oh how happy is the man to whom God does not impute iniquity." All I can say to that is, "Amen!" How happy is the man whose sins and iniquities, God said, I will remember no more.

Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin ( Hebrews 10:18 ).

Where you've already had the remission once and for all, perfected in Christ, there is no need for any further offering for sin.

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holy of Holies by the blood of Jesus ( Hebrews 10:19 ),

I can enter in where He entered in, right in to the presence of the Father. Coming to the Father through the blood of Jesus Christ, I can enter into the Holy of Holies. I can come into the presence of God through Him. The door is open. Jesus Christ has made the way whereby we can come into the presence of God and fellowship with Him.

And so, "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,"

By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having a high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart full of assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised ( Hebrews 10:20-23 );

Notice now this new covenant: hold fast, hang on, don't worry, because God is faithful who made the promises. This new covenant is predicated upon the promises of God, and God is faithful who has made these promises to you. So hold fast this profession of faith. We have a great high priest.

The danger was these Jews who had received Jesus, returning back to Judaism, taking a lamb, dragging a lamb to the priest again to make a sin offering for them. That was their danger.

Don't underestimate how deeply rooted traditions are, especially among the Jewish people, and even to the present day. Even non-believing Jews keep Sabbath; eat kosher. It is so deeply a part of their tradition that they guard it fiercely. And I know many, many Jews that would become Christians, but they are afraid they would no longer be a Jew. They don't understand that to become a Christian is to become a completed Jew. For Jesus was the Messiah that God had promised in their scriptures. And they need not fear to cease being a Jew by becoming a Christian. In fact, they'd probably become a better Jew than they ever were. And yet, their rabbis have determined that to be a Jew and a Christian are mutually exclusive; you cannot be both. But they are trying to protect their national identity and they fight fiercely. For it is deeply, deeply ingrained.

So the time of the writing of the Hebrews, those who had made a profession of Christ, some of them sort going back. So the encouragement is to hold fast the profession; don't waiver. And again, pointing not to our faithfulness, but the faithfulness of God. He who has promised is faithful.

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works ( Hebrews 10:24 ):

And so that's as we're together exhorting each other for a greater love and good works.

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching ( Hebrews 10:25 ).

Consider each other to provoke each other to love, to good works, and then not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, in order that we might receive exhortation. Actually, he is saying we should gather together all the more as we see the day of the Lord approaching. So I don't know how we can do any more than we are every night of the week around here and during the day, but anyhow . . . That's the purpose of gathering and assembling ourselves together is for mutual encouragement, the strengthening of each other, the exhorting of each other.

For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins ( Hebrews 10:26 ),

This is talking to the Jew who is wavering in his faith in Jesus Christ and who is seeking to go back to the priest with a sin offering. There is no further sacrifice. The lamb will do nothing. For the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is complete. It is once and for all. And there is no further sacrifice that can be offered, of a goat or a lamb or a calf or anything else. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is complete. There remains no other sacrifice for your sins. You can't go back to the old system.

[All that remains is] the certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries ( Hebrews 10:27 ).

Now, this judgment and fiery indignation is going to take place, much of it, during the Great Tribulation. Notice it is going to devour God's adversaries.

He that despised Moses' law [that is, the first covenant that has been set aside] died without mercy under two or three witnesses ( Hebrews 10:28 ):

Very severe punishment, capital punishment for those who despised the first covenant that God established through Moses.

Of how much worse punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant [this new covenant], wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite to the Spirit of grace? ( Hebrews 10:29 )

So the three things: he's trodden under foot the Son of God, counted the blood of Christ as nothing, and has done despite to the Spirit of grace.

For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will repay, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall in the hands of the living God ( Hebrews 10:30-31 ).

Now two things can be done concerning your sins. One, by your coming to Jesus Christ, they can be totally and completely washed away. Totally forgiven through Him, accepting this new covenant that God has established, your sins are completely put away. If that does not take place, then the second thing that will happen concerning your sins is that you will stand before God and be judged, and your sins will condemn you.

Years ago, I was told the story of a wonderful prince, the heir to the kingdom, who had married a wife who proved to be undeserving of him and of his love. During a time of rebellion, she went out and lived in open adultery with the leader of the rebellion. When the rebellion was subdued, the princess was brought to justice and the court decreed that she should die in the tiger's pit. Outside of the city, in a clearing in the forest, a pit had been dug. In the pit was a post, and those victims, who were so executed, were tied to the post. And during the night the tigers, drawn by the scent of human flesh, would come and devour the victims. The day of execution came and she was led into the woods and tied securely to the post there in the bottom of the pit and was left to her fate.

As it grew darker, she heard the crunching of gravel above her head. Looking up, she saw silhouetted in the evening sky not the form of a tiger, but of a man, who vaulted down into the pit. She recognized him to be the prince, her husband that she had betrayed. She turned on him in anger saying, "What have you done? Have you come to mock me because of the fate that I have?" He said, "No, I have come to prove to you how much I've always loved you. You've never understood that." With that, he waited silently in the pit until again there was crunching at the top of the pit. And now a tiger, drawn by the scent of human flesh, circling the pit, and then the fast footsteps as it approached and leaped into the pit. But instead of leaping upon the princess, it met the unsheathed sword of the prince. There in the darkness a fierce battle ensued, until finally the princess could hear the death throes as the last bit of life was leaving, and then just the dripping of blood.

As it became daylight, the men from the city came to take the remains of the princess and bury them. To their astonishment, they found that the princess was in good shape, still tied in the center of the pit. But over in the corner, and almost drowned in his own blood, was their beloved prince, and next to him a tiger that had been killed.

They lifted him out of the pit and carried him back to town and called the best physicians in the kingdom. For three days he hovered between life and death. Every hour a bulletin went out throughout the kingdom telling of the condition of the prince as he fought the battle for life. Finally, on the third day the news went out that the prince has passed the crisis and would live. All within the kingdom rejoiced.

In the meantime, the princess had again been incarcerated because the court's judgment had not been executed. Again, she was brought to trial and now the verdict was to be given. All the people of the kingdom gathered in the great arena to hear the verdict against the princess. As the crier stepped forth, he said, "Hear ye, hear ye, the decision of the supreme council." Then turning to the princess he said, "Over on your right there is a door, and behind that door there stands your husband, the prince, the one that you betrayed. Over on your left is another door, behind which are several tigers. If by five o'clock this evening you do not go to the door on your right and enter that door declaring to all within the kingdom that from now on you will be a faithful and devoted wife, then the door on your left will be opened and the death which he almost died to save you from will come upon you, and this time without any hope of escape. And the story ended, which door?

But as you see the story, you realize that we are the guilty princess, and that we rebelled against the Lord, who loved us so much that He came to prove His love by dying in our place. Now there are two doors, two things that can be done for your sins. Totally forgiven by your commitment of your life to Jesus Christ, or if you fail, then the death from which He died to save you will come and there will be no hope of any escape. "For how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" So really, you have to put the ending on the story yourself. Which door? You are the one that puts the ending on the story.

"It's a fearful thing to fall in the hands of a living God."

But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions ( Hebrews 10:32 );

Remember what you went through in the beginning of your faith.

Partly, while you were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, while you became companions of them that were so used ( Hebrews 10:33 ).

"Your identification with Christianity really cost you a lot," and it did. It cost many of them their families. They were completely ostracized. Actually, the families would hold funerals for them. They were dead. They would not even recognize them on the street as existing. "Remember the things that you endured because of your faith in Jesus Christ."

For you had compassion of me and in my bonds, and you took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that you have in heaven a better and an enduring substance ( Hebrews 10:34 ).

A lot of them had their possessions taken away, but they didn't care. They knew they had possessions that no man could take away, the enduring substance in heaven.

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompence of reward. For you have need of patience, and after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry ( Hebrews 10:35-37 ).

So again, as so often in the New Testament, the exhortation of patience as we wait for the coming of Jesus Christ. James has said, "Have patience brethren; establish your souls for the Lord is waiting for the complete fruit of harvest" ( James 5:7 ). Have patience; He has a few more yet to save. Give them a chance too. Establish yourselves, for the Lord is waiting for the full fruit of harvest. Peter said, "God is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness. He is faithful to us-ward, he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" ( 2 Peter 3:9 ).

So the reason why God is waiting and delaying the coming of Jesus Christ is to give opportunity for others to come on into the kingdom. But He that shall come will come and will not tarry. The day of the Lord will come. The Lord has waited, but the days of waiting are almost over. But have patience brethren, that after you've done the will of God you might receive the promise. The Lord is going to come again.

Now the just shall live by faith: and if any man draw back, [God said] my soul shall have no pleasure in them. But we are not of those who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul ( Hebrews 10:38-39 ).

The writer here declares his confidence in them. We are not those that draw back. We are those that believe to the salvation of our souls.

Now the just shall live by faith, and as we go into chapter 11, we're going to get the hallmark of faith, the hall of fame for those who believe. And that is the hall of fame that I want to appear in. You can have Cooper's Town and everything else. I want to be listed in that hall of fame, those who believe in the promises God. And we'll get an interesting listing of these men of faith as we move on into chapter 11, the glorious chapter on faith.

And now may the Lord be with you, watch over and keep you in His love as you walk in faith in Him. May you be blessed of the Lord and strengthened in every good work for the glory of Jesus Christ. God bless you. In Jesus' name. "



Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:4". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/hebrews-10.html. 2014.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

3. The accomplishment of our high priest 10:1-18

This section on the high priestly ministry of Christ (Hebrews 7:1 to Hebrews 10:18) concludes with this pericope in which the writer emphasized the perfecting effect of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on New Covenant believers. He wrote this to impress his readers further with the superiority of their condition compared with that of Old Covenant believers.

As pointed out previously, Hebrews 7:1 to Hebrews 10:18 constitutes an exposition of distinctive features of the high priestly office of the Son. These are its similarity to the priesthood of Melchizedek (ch. 7), the fact that it involved a single, personal sacrifice for sins (chs. 8-9), and its achievement of eternal salvation (Hebrews 10:1-18).

". . . in Hebrews 10:1-18 the writer elaborates the ’subjective’ effects of Christ’s offering for the community that enjoys the blessings of the new covenant. Christ’s death is considered from the perspective of its efficacy for Christians." [Note: Lane, Hebrews 9-13, p. 258.]

The argument is again chiastic.

A    The inadequacy of the Old Covenant: repeated sacrifices were necessary (Hebrews 10:1-4)

B    The one sacrifice of Christ: supersedes the repeated sacrifices (Hebrews 10:5-10)

B’    The priesthood of Christ: supersedes the Levitical priesthood (Hebrews 10:11-14)

A’    The adequacy of the New Covenant: no more sacrifice for sins is necessary (Hebrews 10:15-18)

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/hebrews-10.html. 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The Israelites never enjoyed the extent of freedom from sin’s guilt that we do. The Day of Atonement reminded them yearly that their sins needed removing so they could continue to have fellowship with God. We do not have a yearly reminder since Jesus Christ’s sacrifice made us perfectly acceptable to God (cf. John 13:10; Acts 15:9).

"’Take away’ (aphaireo) is used of a literal taking off, as of Peter’s cutting off the ear of the high priest’s slave (Luke 22:50), or metaphorically as of the removal of reproach (Luke 1:25). It signifies the complete removal of sin so that it is no longer a factor in the situation. That is what is needed and that is what the sacrifices could not provide." [Note: Morris, p. 96.]

"Some one has well said: ’The blood of animals cannot cleanse from sin because it is non-moral. The blood of sinning man cannot cleanse because it is immoral. The blood of Christ alone can cleanse because it is moral.’" [Note: Thomas, pp. 117-18.]

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/hebrews-10.html. 2012.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For it is not possible,.... There is a necessity of sin being taken away, otherwise it will be remembered; and there will be a conscience of it, and it must be answered for, or it will remain marked, and the curse and penalty of the law must take place: but it is impossible

that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins; which was shed on the day of atonement: sin is a breach of the moral law, but these sacrifices belong to, the ceremonial law, which are less acceptable to God than moral duties; sin is committed against God, and has an objective infiniteness in it, and therefore can never be atoned for by the blood of such creatures; it leaves a stain on the mind and conscience, which this blood cannot reach; besides, this is not the same blood, nor of the same kind with the person that has sinned; yea, if this could take away sin, it would do more than the blood of the man himself could do; such blood shed can never answer the penalty of the law, satisfy divine justice, or secure the honour of divine holiness: but what the blood of these creatures could not do, the blood of Christ has done, and does: that takes away sin from the sight of justice, and from the consciences of the saints. Compare with this the Septuagint version of Jeremiah 11:15.

"what, has the beloved committed abomination in my house? shall prayers, and the holy flesh take away thy wickednesses from thee, or by these shall thou escape?''

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/hebrews-10.html. 1999.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

The Priesthood of Christ. A. D. 62.

      1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.   2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.   3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.   4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.   5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:   6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.

      Here the apostle, by the direction of the Spirit of God, sets himself to lay low the Levitical dispensation; for though it was of divine appointment, and very excellent and useful in its time and place, yet, when it was set up in competition with Christ, to whom it was only designed to lead the people, it was very proper and necessary to show the weakness and imperfection of it, which the apostle does effectually, from several arguments. As,

      I. That the law had a shadow, and but a shadow, of good things to come; and who would dote upon a shadow, though of good things, especially when the substance has come? Observe, 1. The things of Christ and the gospel are good things; they are the best things; they are best in themselves, and the best for us: they are realities of an excellent nature. 2. These good things were, under the Old Testament, good things to come, not clearly discovered, nor fully enjoyed. 3. That the Jews then had but the shadow of the good things of Christ, some adumbrations of them; we under the gospel have the substance.

      II. That the law was not the very image of the good things to come. An image is an exact draught of the thing represented thereby. The law did not go so far, but was only a shadow, as the image of a person in a looking-glass is a much more perfect representation than his shadow upon the wall. The law was a very rough draught of the great design of divine grace, and therefore not to be so much doted on.

      III. The legal sacrifices, being offered year by year, could never make the comers thereunto perfect; for then there would have been an end of offering them, Hebrews 10:1; Hebrews 10:2. Could they have satisfied the demands of justice, and made reconciliation for iniquity,--could they have purified and pacified conscience,--then they had ceased, as being no further necessary, since the offerers would have had no more sin lying upon their consciences. But this was not the case; after one day of atonement was over, the sinner would fall again into one fault or another, and so there would be need of another day of atonement, and of one every year, besides the daily ministrations. Whereas now, under the gospel, the atonement is perfect, and not to be repeated; and the sinner, once pardoned, is ever pardoned as to his state, and only needs to renew his repentance and faith, that he may have a comfortable sense of a continued pardon.

      IV. As the legal sacrifices did not of themselves take away sin, so it was impossible they should, Hebrews 10:4; Hebrews 10:4. There was an essential defect in them. 1. They were not of the same nature with us who sinned. 2. They were not of sufficient value to make satisfaction for the affronts offered to the justice and government of God. They were not of the same nature that offended, and so could not be suitable. Much less were they of the same nature that was offended; and nothing less than the nature that was offended could make the sacrifice a full satisfaction for the offence. 3. The beasts offered up under the law could not consent to put themselves in the sinner's room and place. The atoning sacrifice must be one capable of consenting, and must voluntarily substitute himself in the sinner's stead: Christ did so.

      V. There was a time fixed and foretold by the great God, and that time had now come, when these legal sacrifices would be no longer accepted by him nor useful to men. God never did desire them for themselves, and now he abrogated them; and therefore to adhere to them now would be resisting God and rejecting him. This time of the repeal of the Levitical laws was foretold by David (Psalms 40:6; Psalms 40:7), and is recited here as now come. Thus industriously does the apostle lay low the Mosaical dispensation.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Hebrews 10:4". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/hebrews-10.html. 1706.